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Douglas Shafer and James Nelson at Javits on May 3, 2012
We hit up the convention center on Thursday for the BuildingsNY show and were minding our own business in the press room when in walked Massey Knakal's Douglas Shafer and James Nelson. James was about to give a state-of-the-market talk, so we headed that way and heard the 13-year Massey Knakal vet open with a zinger: It was not a lot of fun to be a building sales broker in '09, he said, but a great time to be a bankruptcy lawyer. We've come a long way since then. 2009 had seven NYC building sales above $100M. 2010 posted 28, and 2011 had 58. And there were 13 in Q1 '12 alone.
Shamir Seidman, Judah Hammer, and Jonathan Stern at Javits on May 3, 2012
We also snapped Meridian Capital Group's Shamir Seidman, Judah Hammer, and Jonathan Stern. James says Massey Knakal expected property listings to rise 20% to 30% last year (owners going to market before the capital gains tax rate rises from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and from healthcare reform). That didn't happen. Meanwhile, foreign buyers keep looking for opps here while domestic investors enter NYC like Colorado REIT UDR ($2B in NYC acquisitions in the past 18 months) and LA's CIM Group.
May Kirk, Suzanne Mecs, and Jay Bond at Javits on May 3, 2012
At the AIA booth, we snapped IBM's May Kirk (an AIA member) with AIA NY membership director Suzanne Mecs and policy director Jay Bond, who tells us a big policy success was Mayor Bloomberg's initiative that launched last summer to help architects, developers, and owners ID stalled sites. And now the Web-based NYC Development Hub expedites their projects as a one-stop shop for filing applications, paying, and discussing project planning with multiple city agencies.
Merritt Engineering Consultants' Andre Parnther, with Jennifer Merritt, tells us business has remained steady throughout the downturn thanks to regulations requiring buildings over six stories to get detailed, so to speak, every five years. (That's also why the scaffolding business will never die.) NYC Housing, aided by federal funding, has kept the company busy, too. Andre says the city's public housing SF would make it the 19th largest US city. He also tells us restoration and cosmetic work on the chic Fifth and Park avenue corridors has increased.